Movie Tickets: "The Avengers," "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Restless City"

Our picks for the best in film over the next seven days.
Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman and Chris Evans as Captain America in The Avengers. Photograph courtesy of Marvel Studios.
Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman and Chris Evans as Captain America in The Avengers. Photograph courtesy of Marvel Studios.

The Avengers

This is it, kids–the moment you’ve been waiting for. You’ve endured two
Iron Man movies (one great, one not so), one middling
Thor flick, a pretty entertaining
Captain America, and two forgettable
Hulk outings, all to get to the whiz-bang superhero spectacular Marvel Comics has been promising you for years. There were plenty
of fears going in: Could geek guru
Joss Whedon successfully make the leap from TV
and one cult sci-fi flick to a mega-million-dollar summer tentpole?
Could personalities
this big exist in one movie without stomping all over one
another? Could the merely talented but not super-powered Hawkeye
and Black Widow merit their inclusion in the gang? Could ANYONE
finally get the Hulk right?

The answers are yes, yes (though not without stomping,
but the verbal and physical infighting of the heroes is one of the
movie’s great pleasures), most definitely, and absolutely,
emphatically yes. Whedon delivers a thoroughly entertaining compilation
of the best of these heroes while never hiding either his giddy
love for the characters or the wry wit that has formed the
bedrock of his career. There are minor quibbles to be had, but
overall, this is exactly the
Avengers that hardcore comic fans and casual viewers should have hoped for. And once you see
Mark Ruffalo‘s nuanced take on Bruce Banner
and the Hulk, you may even find yourself looking forward to someone
making another inevitable
attempt at a Hulk movie that actually works. One programming
note: If you see the movie in 3D, go for the IMAX version, but
really, the 3D adds nothing, and you’ll be perfectly fine
opting for a 2D screening.

View the
Opens tomorrow at
theaters across the

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

For a less pyrotechnic option–at least, I’m assuming Dames
Judi Dench and Maggie Smith won’t develop
super powers and blow up the titular hotel by the end of the
movie–there’s this light British comedy about
a group of retirees heading to India to live out their days in
what promises to be a less expensive, more exotic locale than
Britain can offer. Of course, advertisements can be misleading,
and the group arrives at an Exotic Marigold Hotel that is
perhaps undeserving of the “best” modifier. Gentle hilarity, it
is assumed, ensues. Helmed by
Shakespeare in Love director
John Madden, the feel-good film has already had an excellent showing overseas, and has received praise from critics.

View the
Opens tomorrow at
several area

Restless City

Andrew Dosunmu‘s debut feature tells the story
of an African immigrant getting by, but just barely, in his new home of
New York City. The
film premiered at Sundance last year, where it took some knocks
for a predictable storyline: Boy with big dreams comes to
the big city, gets involved with the wrong element, and falls
in love with the wrong girl; personal turmoil follows. But those
who did praise it generally felt the film’s weaknesses were far
outweighed by its stunning and poetic visual beauty, as well
as by its attempt to show the rarely addressed experience of
African immigrants in America.

View the trailer. Opens tomorrow at West End.

The Way Home: The Films of Turkish Master Yilmaz Güney

Yilmaz Güney was one of the biggest stars of
Turkish cinema in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and he used that fame to
build a career as
a writer and director, with a little novel writing on the side.
However, that phase of his career was short-lived, as he ended
up spending most of the last decade of his life in prison, for
radical political action (sometimes violent) that also found
its way into his films. The Freer and the Goethe-Institut are
partnering for this eight-film retrospective of Güney’s work,
which starts on Sunday with a double feature of
The Hungry Wolves (about a grizzled bandit attempting to elude capture and protect his family) and
The Poor (a film about convicts that reflected his own experiences in prison) at the Freer, and continues on Wednesday at Goethe-Institut
The Herd (about a Kurdish family that must drive their flock of sheep in order to survive).

View the trailer for The Hungry Wolves. Starts this Sunday and continues through the next three
weeks. Check the schedules at the

and the
for complete listings.

Ciné-Concert: Segundo de Chomón shorts

With a career that was often overshadowed by his better-known, but not dissimilar, contemporary
George Méliès,
Segundo de Chomón was among the most
imaginative filmmakers of the early silent era, also making films
concerned with using special effects
and illusions to make the impossible possible onscreen. The
Spanish director and innovator made more than 300 shorts himself,
and helped provide special effects for some of the most
enduring silent features, such as
Cabiria and Abel Gance’s landmark 1927
Napoleon. The films in the collection at the National Gallery, accompanied by a live orchestra, are tied together by a “once upon
a time” folk-tale theme.

View a

of Chomón’s films Sunday at 4:30 PM at the National Gallery
of Art

Blu-ray Pick of the Week:

Jeremiah Johnson

This film represents the convergence of three massive talents, with a leading man in
Robert Redford who was already a superstar in 1972, and two men behind the scenes who were on the verge of becoming Hollywood giants–director

Sydney Pollack, fresh off his breakthrough with
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, and legendary tough-guy screenwriter
John Milius (writer of
Apocalypse Now, a number of
Dirty Harry movies, and the indelible “Indianapolis” monologue from
Jaws). Loosely based on the story of a real mountain
man who lived in the Montana territory in the mid-19th century, the film
stars Redford as the title character, a rugged loner and
trapper surviving on his own in the punishing terrain of the northern
Rockies. A big hit at the time, it seems to get remembered
slightly less regularly than many of Redford’s other big films
during this period, but this release, the first time the film
has appeared on Blu-ray, should serve as an excellent introduction
for audiences who may never have seen it.

Special Features: Commentary with Pollack, Redford, and Milius, and an 11-minute featurette.

View the trailer.


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